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Next DVD Format War Still Wide Open 253

An anonymous reader writes "Despite the wishes of partisan players like Sony and Toshiba, many consumer electronics manufacturers are opting to support both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs in upcoming media players." From the article: "Consumer electronics maker LG Electronics and PC maker Fujitsu-Siemens both said on Thursday they would keep their options open after computer giant Hewlett-Packard said last month it would back HD DVD as well as Blu-ray. Bjorn Sehrm, senior director Digital Home of Fujitsu-Siemens, told Reuters: 'We are planning to put both in. We don't take a stand in that fight, and actually we're very sorry that fight is happening.'
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Next DVD Format War Still Wide Open

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  • Who wins? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Agent00Wang ( 146185 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @09:52AM (#14890143) Homepage
    Who does this format war even benefit? I'm glad that some vendors will support both formats, but I for one will be waiting for things to die down before I invest in either format.
  • DVD still King! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ivan kk ( 917820 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @09:53AM (#14890151)
    It don't really matter what format is gonna win, everyone will still purchase dvds for years to come.
  • GOOD! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Randolpho ( 628485 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @09:55AM (#14890158) Homepage Journal
    I hated the DVD +/- wars. They were stupid and quite frankly boring to me as a consumer of DVD video.

    The whole war died when everybody started supporting both formats. Here's hoping the HD/Blue war will die without a shot fired.
  • DVD -- schmevedee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iogan ( 943605 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @09:55AM (#14890159) Homepage
    I know, it would be cool with a billion pixels, and 15.1 sound systems and all that, but honestly, when is someone going to start making movies worth while watching again? I mean seriously, my biggest problem is finding stuff worth the time watching -- not that my TV is too small, or the resolution too low. I mean, my eyes are only this good, I honestly don't think I can tell that much of a difference.

    Anyway, that's todays rant about the state of modern culture all done with. I feel better already.

  • How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScottCooperDotNet ( 929575 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @09:55AM (#14890160)
    How many people will buy either of these new formats and still plug 'em in via legacy jacks?

    I imagine most /.ers will avoid both formats until there is a clear winner, and the prices drop.

  • by chrisguy13 ( 644249 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @09:56AM (#14890169)
    I was looking forward to these until that whole HDCP mess. My nice HDTV uses the "analogue hole" to get its signal, something those dicks in the MPAA don't like. If anything, I'm rooting for Blu-ray. As much as I hate Sony lately, more storage is always better, and I'd almost be able to fit my mp3 collection on one disc.
  • by OzPhIsH ( 560038 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:01AM (#14890195) Journal
    I'm not buying either "next generation" format for their DRM crippled HD video content. I'll be supporting whichever format has the first cheap burner with reasonable priced blank discs. If DRM is a big hurdle in te way of that, kiss my support goodbye.
  • Re:Who wins? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serapth ( 643581 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:01AM (#14890197)
    Actually this upcoming generation of media benefits the consumer very little. Thanks to draconian measures in HDCP obsoleting a good chunk of consumer electronics out there, it infact pretty much screws the consumer.

    Im not one to boycott products, but there is always a first. I will as long as possible, refuse to buy any product built around HDCP. Sadly, that means HD-DVD, BluRay, the PS3, etc... I sure as hell am not going to buy a new monitor and video card to support Vista. This doesnt mean no Vista, but from the sounds of it, it does mean no Media Center.

    This is one time where consumers should unite and say a collective "Fuck you!".
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:02AM (#14890200)
    Blu-ray looked like the easy winner for a while there. But they're coming out later and at double the price of HD-DVD. Add in the delay of the PS3 (supposedly the "poor man's blu-ray player") and it doesn't exactly make blu-ray look like the champ it once was.


  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:02AM (#14890204)
    The 8.5GB dual layer discs will now be MUCH cheaper, right? Anyone?
  • That is to say... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CleverNickedName ( 644160 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:04AM (#14890215) Journal
    "Next DVD Format War Still Wide Open"
    I other words "Still No News on the DVD Format War".

    I'll just pick up a Playstation3 and hope Blu-Ray wins out.
  • So - (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <[ten.lemmuhnhoj] [ta] [lemmuhj]> on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:10AM (#14890254) Homepage
    Am I the typical person who isn't going to buy either one because the standard is full of shit and "downgraded signals if you don't have the right interfaces" and "I don't want to buy two players", or am I the anomaly?

    After all, these competing standards only matter if you have a HDTV (which I don't plan to have until around, oh, 2009 or so - about when the current one dies and I need something else to play "Final Fantasy XVI" on - or hopefully "Zelda: Twilight Princess" by then.

    So I plan on just sitting back, letting both sides make asses out of themselves, and maybe this will wind up like the original Divx - a technology that nobody really wanted to buy.

    Of course, this is just my opinion - I could be wrong.
  • by smackenzie ( 912024 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:11AM (#14890257)
    I used to think Sony had a sure win. I'm definitely not sure anymore. Look at:

    HD DVD on Vista

    Toshiba releasing a laptop reasonably soon with HD DVD

    cheaper MSRP ($499 vs $999 and $799 vs $1799)

    Sony is releasing first round of writable blu-ray disks that are slow (2x) and smaller than first release HD DVD (25 GB vs 30 GB)

    Studios and electronic manufacturers increasingly hedging their bets.

    Delay of PS3

    I'm really beginning to believe that, once again, Sony competition (HD DVD) will become the "normal" standard with Blu-ray being the standard for those with a Sony PS3 or Sony-compatible hardware. Statistically speaking, that's exactly what has happened in the past with various degrees of success (Beta, Memory Sticks, Mini-discs, UMD, etc.)
  • Uhh, wait a minute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PrvtBurrito ( 557287 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:12AM (#14890262)
    All of the stories I've seen is that LG and HP are no longer exclusively going to support Blu-ray (Don't know about Fujitsu-Siemens). Lets review. HD-DVD is coming out in two weeks, and Blu-ray isn't. HD-DVD players are as much as $500 cheaper than Blu-ray. HD-DVD is (not necessarily exclusively) backed by HP, Microsoft, Toshiba, Intel, NEC, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros and other industry giants. The PS3 is ridiculously delayed and its success must be considered in doubt, given its cost and the 360's early release.

    Why is Blu-ray even interesting? Because sony supports it? I realize it is a superior format in terms of technology (not price), however, with companies jumping off the exclusivity bandwagon, HD-DVD may have already won. Sony must realize this.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:16AM (#14890285)
    It looks like the bad guys will win again.

    Since when is Sony "the good guys"? With all the DRM on both formats, I'd say they're BOTH the bad guys. But, given choice of the lesser of two evils, I'd definitely go with almost ANYONE over Sony. With the recent rootkit debacle and their inexplicably fanatical obsession with preventing any hacking of the PSP, I wouldn't trust them to take out my trash much less design a new media format.


  • Re:Who wins? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsho[ ] ['d.c' in gap]> on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:25AM (#14890338)
    The format war benefits the Hollywood studios.

    If we're expecting a straightforward repeat of VHS vs. Beta, then it will go something like this: The first round of Early Adopters will buy both systems in quantities roughly proportional to manufacturers' established market shares {Sony and Sanyo made Beta kit; JVC supplied cheap VHS machines, built under licence in sewing-machine factories, to rental companies for badge-engineering}. One system will eventually come to dominate, for a reason ultimately determined by neither the consumers nor the manufacturers {VHS recorders, which were mainly supplied on a rental basis, were more easily field-maintained than the technically-superior Beta system}.

    However, this time around there will be a crucial difference. When Beta died out, and customers renting Beta machines had to be supplied with VHS replacements, the rental companies took it upon themselves to copy users' accumulated tape libraries onto the new format {Macrovision had not been invented then}. This time, owners of the "failed" format will simply be expected to purchase their favourite films again, to the benefit of the movie studios.

    So you bought a film once on VHS, again on VHS because the first one wore out, then on DVD, then once {if you picked the winner of the new format wars from day one} or twice {if you didn't} on the new, high-definition discs.

    The crucial deciding factor with cassettes turned out to be field-maintenance. I'm guessing that this time, with new high-definition discs, the crucial deciding factor will be how easily any intended consumer-shafting measures {under the colour of copy-prevention} can be defeated. The important company to watch here is Sony, because they make the discs and the players; so they are unlikely to make copying easy on their players, since they would be shooting themselves in the foot. Player manufacturers who are not involved in the content industry have less to worry about {and the people working in their labs, who are ideally-placed to introduce backdoors, enjoy a movie as much as the next person .....}
  • Re:Who wins? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:26AM (#14890344) Homepage
    This is probably mostly due to data density. If your scratch is the same size on a CD/DVD/HD DVD/Blu Ray, then on a CD it would damage x bits. Since a dual layer DVD holds about 14 CDs, i'm guessing the same scratch would take out 14x bits. Now if the new stuff holds 50 Gigs, lets call that 5X a DVD, it would take out 70x bits. Although I heard blu ray is supposed to have some heavy polymer that prevents scratching, how much will your fingerprint or speck of dust stop the player from reading properly. There's a reason that they put hard drives in sealed containers. I would think that a device such a bluray or hd dvd would require that there be very little dust in order for it to read properly. Either that, or a lot of ecc data.
  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:29AM (#14890360) Homepage Journal
    That applies to the people who actually know there is a format war going on, but I don't think that includes as many of average Joe Consumers out there as one might think. There are still many people out there who will simply buy whichever format hits the streets first, because it's what they'll immediately see as "the new DVD." These are the folks who will end up royally screwed and angry if another format turns up and buries their one.
  • enrichment (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:38AM (#14890434)
    I love this quote -

    Asked if consumers would have to buy their favorite movies again, Blu-ray spokesman Simonis said: "Of course! But it will enrich your life."

    try, instead -
    "Of course! But it will enrich [my corporation]."
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:42AM (#14890459) Homepage Journal
    Hmmm, if the format war drags out too long it will be a moot point. Networked DVRs with broadband internet connections and large hard drives are going to make physical media a thing of the past for many people. When I can easily rent a movie and download it to my TiVo in just a few minutes, I won't care about DVD formats at all. And over time, I won't really care to own the movie either as long as I can see it any time I want at some reasonable cost. I think the current iTunes model would work pretty well for what I have in mind. So the Sony and Toshiba camps would be smart to settle their differences quickly before the consumer moves on.
  • porn.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:54AM (#14890544)
    Yup.. whatever format the porn industry picks up.. will be the standard.. it's too early to tell however.. as both players are still pretty much vaporware..

    Most of the people i've talked to, have no plan on upgrading from DVD as copy protection and down-rezzed video just don't appeal to them..

    if you bought a 1080p capable disc, who is the f'ckin MPAA to tell you *YOU CANT WATCH IT AT 1080p IF YOUR DEVICE IS CAPABLE!*


    my dvd collection will grow.. mostly from other peoples used DVD's who jump on the new HD bandwagon.. only to find out they've locked themselves into a deal with the devil..

    None of the HD formats are going to replace DVD any time soon.. regardless of what the MPAA thinks..

    put it this way.. joe 6pack just risked his marriage to buy an HDTV to watch nascar and pretty much destoryed his kids college fund, and nearly got divorced for it.. now the MPAA is tellin him to buy a new HD player to play HD movies that won't work properly on his HDTV because it isn't equipped with HDMI/HDCP support..

    me thinks joe 6pack will stick with his $29.97 walmart DVD player with component upconversion..

  • Re:Who wins? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KDan ( 90353 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:09AM (#14890639) Homepage
    No, but given the omnipresence of dust, it's as good as permanent even if it keeps shifting from one part of the disk to another...

  • by gerwen ( 960269 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:22AM (#14890722)
    I was an early adopter of the HDTV format. First person I knew to have an hdtv AND hdtv content to view.

    Fast forward 4 (or 5) years. This format war is meaningless to me because neither player will work on my TV. I don't have any DRM enabled inputs because my TV was built before they existed.
    I have an upconverting DVD player that only works with my tv because of some almost-hacks that disable HDCP and macrovision to allow the upconvert over component. Unless i can find a similar player that will allow me to bypass DRM, (I know, dream on) I won't be going HD DVD or Blu-Ray.

    I'm the customer they want, but they can't have me since they stabbed me in the back last time.
  • by bradleyland ( 798918 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:34AM (#14890793)
    IMO, it's not even a matter of boycotting. If my now 5 month old DLP television won't be able to display hi-def content provided by these new media, then what reason do I have to upgrade? I predict a couple of things will happen:

    * Consumers who are aware of the limitations won't purchase the equipment until they have displays capable of using them
    * Consumers who are unaware of the limitations (arguably, the majority) will purchase the equipment, discover that it does not work and then return it
    * Other consumers will purchase the equipment, it will not work, but they will be too oblivious to notice

    On the last comment, I overheard this scenario at Best Buy the other day.

    *Customer is getting ready to purchase a 50" Mitsu 1080p DLP TV*
    Salesman: Does your DVD player have component out?
    Customer: Uh, what?
    Salesman: Component, or even better, DVI, gives you a better quality picture.
    Customer: Probably, I just bought it. What do I need to use it?
    Salesman: You need this component cable.
    Customer: How much is it?
    Salesman: Fifty-five dollars.
    Customer: Nah, I'll just stick with my RCA cables. They work fine.

    Ugh. So the guy just spent $2500 on a high-def television to feed it a lousy composite signal. WTF? We're doomed.
  • Re:Who wins? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by twehrle ( 580963 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @11:39AM (#14890823)
    I agree. I will be boycotting this as well. I am a big home theater person as well, with a considerable investment in it. I would really like to have a high definition DVD, and I have the equipment to display it properly. But the way they architected this with all the copy protection, I will not be investing in this as well. No high-def over component video is stupid. That just cuts off the whole benefit of the technology for the majority that it is targeted for.
  • Re:Who wins? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wanorris ( 473323 ) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:50PM (#14891354) Homepage
    This time, owners of the "failed" format will simply be expected to purchase their favourite films again, to the benefit of the movie studios.

    Not if companies like LG make good on their promises to make dual-standard devices.

    With a dual-standard device, both standards can win, where "win" is defined as not being orphaned. Buy a player that supports both, and you don't need to care which format ends up being the dominant one, because you'll be able to play both types of media.

    Q: Who won, DVD+R or DVD-R?
    A: Who cares? Any decent DVD recorder drive can use both.

    Sure, it's confusing to consumers to have to choose amongst two different DVD recording media standards when the differences are minor, but it's not the end of the world. For prerecorded media, having two supported standards is even less important -- just buy whichever one a movie is released on.

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